Cleansing Fine Natural Hair for Length Retention

fine natural hair wash day

After the pre-poo, it’s time to cleanse your hair. There are many ways to get hair clean: shampooing, mud-washing, co-washing, clarifying, and apple cider vinegar cleansing.

For the purpose of cleansing fine natural hair thoroughly, the one thing to keep in mind is you want to maintain some of your natural oils. You never want your hair to get “squeaky” clean. When I used to go to the salons, they prided themselves on getting your hair so clean it squeaked. I thought that was how it was supposed to be. Little did I know then that what they were doing was “prepping” my hair to dry out faster by mid-week.

I no longer use shampoo on a regular basis but will shampoo my scalp once per month or every 6 weeks to clarify. I don’t use shampoo with sulfates however. My shampoo of choice for clarifying is Shea Moisture African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo (more on this below).

For Co-washing:

Contrary to what many naturals do, I don’t agree with washing your hair with conditioner. These products are not designed to clean the hair. Instead of using a regular ‘ole conditioner that’s meant to be rinsed out, use a cleansing conditioner or co-wash product.  I recommend As I Am Coconut Cowash and Eden Bodyworks Coconut Shea Cowash. I alternate these two products on wash day.

Shampooing and Clarifying:

bentonite clay wash on fine natural hair

Shea Moisture’s Raw Shea Butter shampoo is much more hydrating to the hair than most shampoos. I used to use this but I find that my fine natural hair prefers the co-wash products. Whatever shampoo you use, ensure that it doesn’t contain any form of sulfate. Sulfates are very drying to natural hair. Fine hair is susceptible to breakage so you definitely don’t want it dried out.

When, I need to clarify there are two options I work with and recommend:

  • Shea Moisture African Black Soap & Tea Tree Shampoo
  • Bentonite Clay mixed with Apple Cider Vinegar and/or Aloe Vera juice. This product combo also helps to define the curls and a natural clarifier.

Side bar: Some ladies with fine hair love the Shea Moisture Yucca & Baobab line. It’s indicated for thin or breaking hair. I tried to love this product. I really did. However, I don’t think it’s necessarily for fine hair that’s moderately or more dense. It tangled my hair terribly.  If your hair is fine AND thin, this product line may work for you but don’t just go for it because you hair is fine. Fine hair is not necessarily thin hair (Read this post).

Tips on Washing Fine Hair

  • Wash in 4-6 sections, depending on length. This will reduce tangling.
  • Focus on washing the scalp. Let the product run down the hair shaft when rinsing. This WILL get it clean.
  • One wash is sufficient unless you have product build up. You aren’t cleaning your hair to remove all residue. You are just sort of re-setting it so that styling is more productive.  Your scalp is what you want clean the most.
  • Don’t detangle while washing. Save that for after you apply your conditioner.
  • If co-washing and not conditioning after (which I never recommend but you may be doing a mid-week quick wash for whatever reason), you can use your co-wash product to finger detangle.

Because I was sick and this post is a week late, I will catch up by sharing the next step in washing fine natural hair in just a couple of days – Deep Conditioning.

This post is a part of the series, “Sorting out a Fine Haired Natural’s Wash Day Step by Step.” Here is the previous post:

Why & How to Pre-Poo Fine Natural Hair

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Michelle Smith
Michelle is a Christian special needs mom residing in the NYC area who shares useful tips to grow and maintain fine natural hair. She's a published author and Creator of Fine Natural Hair and Faith, inspiring others with faith for living along side knowledge on how to care for their "crown."

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